November 15, 2022
By Blake Garlock
Kelly Ware had two encounters with the same shooter buck during the 2019 hunting season. The first sighting occurred during September of that year, when Kelly got a quick glimpse of the deer moving through a draw. The second encounter was during the rut, and the deer came into 55 yards with another shooter 10-point, but Kelly never felt comfortable taking a shot.
“I hoped that he’d survive that year and make it through gun season,” Kelly says.
On the property Kelly hunts, there’s an old field that’s roughly 100 yards long and has apple trees growing in it. The spot acts as a staging area for the deer, and Kelly has a tree stand there. “The deer feel really comfortable there because it’s about 200 yards off the road,” Kelly says. “They like to go in there and nibble on apples before going out and feeding in the fields.”
On Oct. 4, 2020, Kelly was staying at his campsite with his family, and he mentioned to his wife that the wind was perfect to hunt his tree stand over the apple trees. “When I walked into the stand the wind was perfect and in my face,” Kelly recalls. “The stand is perfect because I can slip in really quiet, so they can’t see, smell or hear me.”
Around 5:45 p.m., Kelly spotted the big non-typical that he’d seen the year before just across the fence. The buck hopped the fence and began feeding on the apples in front of Kelly’s stand.
“I didn’t expect him to come out that early, and I wasn’t expecting him to be there,” Kelly says. “He came into 35 yards and gave me a perfect shot. I made a heart-shot on him, and then he ran about 100 yards and expired.”
Kelly had the buck scored by a Pope and Young scorer. The non-typical gross scores 199 5/8 and net scores 194 P&Y. And the incredible buck was aged at 7 1/2 years old.
“It’s not every day a 200-inch deer comes out to eat apples at 5:45,” Kelly claims. “He is a really cool deer, though.”